Base exchange

Base exchange

Base Exchange (BX), also referred to as a Post Exchange (PX) on Army installations, and Navy Exchange (NEX) on Navy installations, are shops that operates on United States military installations worldwide. Originally akin to trading posts, they now resemble department stores or strip malls.

Service organization

Exchanges on Army and Air Force bases are operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), while those on Navy bases are operated by the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), and those on Marine Corps installations are part of Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), which also runs the rest of Marine MWR operations. The Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) operates a handful of stores on Coast Guard installations.


Exchanges sell consumer goods and services to active, reserve and retired United States Uniformed Services members and their dependents. Shopping privileges are also generally extended in overseas locations to U.S. Government civilian employees and their dependents who are assigned overseas. Shopping privileges can vary overseas according to applicable status-of-forces agreements with host nations. A typical exchange is similar to a department store, but other services such as barber shops, hair care, beauty, gas stations, fast food outlets, convenience stores ("Shoppettes"), beer and wine sales, liquor stores ("Class Six"), movie theaters and even vehicle maintenance and repair services are commonly available. Most (but not all) sales by exchanges are free of local sales or VAT taxes as the sales take place on military reservations (exceptions may include gasoline sales in the U.S. and sales by concessionaires licensed by the exchange).

Unlike commissaries (military grocery stores), exchanges, for the most part, do not receive any subsidies from the federal government and must operate on a for-profit basis. With the exception of a small number of military personnel detailed for duty with the exchange services, exchange service employees' salaries are paid from revenues generated from sales of merchandise and not from funds appropriated by Congress. Of course, exchanges are normally located on military reservations and, as a result, do not pay rent for the use of land. Exchanges' tax-exempt status (as an agency of the U.S. Government) also reduces certain operating expenses. While exchanges must pay for the cost of transporting goods within the continental United States, Congress appropriates funds to subsidize the transportation costs of American merchandise to overseas exchange locations so that such items are available and affordable to personnel stationed overseas.

Exchanges play an important role for U.S. military and Government personnel assigned overseas as they are often the only local source for American retail merchandise, such as clothing, electronics, books and magazines, fast food, etc. Exchanges also supply gasoline at prices roughly approximating those in the U.S., normally on a rationed basis, to overseas personnel for personal use, since fuel prices in most foreign countries (where U.S. military are stationed) are normally much higher due to local taxes.

Overseas exchanges also sell new North American-made vehicles to assigned personnel in cooperation with the "Big Three" automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

AAFES and NEX have also established smaller field exchanges to provide troops with comforts and everyday items while deployed, even in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. NEX also operates small exchanges onboard seagoing vessels, manned by sailors in the Ship's Serviceman rating.

Most profits earned by the exchange services, after paying operating expenses, are used to support community activities aimed at improving morale among service members and their families.

See also


External links

Search another word or see base exchangeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature